As the festive season draws ever closer, people start thinking about Santa Claus and presents. This blog post by Storypark’s CEO Peter Dixon provides some alternative ideas for gifts this Christmas.


I was inspired by a blog post I read recently built from the idea that a few toys can be fantastic, but many families have FAR more than a ‘few’.

It suggested that too many toys can push a child’s imagination right under the bed and will eventually wreck the planet that children have got to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

The really cool part of the blog post was their sharing of 60 great gift alternatives to toys, which was created based on a Facebook and twitter pool that asked people the question:

What is the best non-toy present you ever received as a child, or have given a child?”

Here’s some of the suggestions from people’s contributions. The only other one that Storypark would like to add is our new printed books of children’s learning to share with Grandparents or family. A printed book is a great way for a child to to revisit their activities and use the images to tell a story about their learning.

  • A small fruit tree to grow and nurture.
  • Cress seeds – imagine helping to feed your family at only age 2! Plus they pop up all year round and don’t take as much patience. You can also make them a head to grow them in so it looks like hair.
  • A fort building kit – rope, pegs and a sheets/tarpaulin and a good torch.
  • Kitchen implements – a peeler with a big handle  a sieve, a garlic press or an apron.
  • The ingredients to make something yummy! One reader explains about the special thing she did for Christmas “I once gave my daughter’s friend a bag filled with the ingredients, Christmas cutters and the recipe to make their own Christmas gingerbread. They loved it.”
  • Something to pull apart –give them a screw driver and an old type writer or radio to take it to bits and explore it’s inners.
  • A magnifying glass and a book about Insects.
  • A microscope “I spent months finding things to look at and getting family members to guess what it was- the best was tiny slivers of onion skin.”
  • A good drum, maracas, a ukelele. A good xylophone. The brain patterns used in music are the same as those used in maths so giving kids the tools to create music is important. And fun.
  • A subscription to a magazine such as National Geographic. A reader explains how she felt about her subscription given to her by her neighbour age six, “At first, we just looked at the pictures but I read more each year as I grew. In our sleepy village, it was a very welcome window into different cultures. And I always felt very grown up and acknowledged when I read them.”
  • A song. Rope people in to help you, friends to strum chords on the guitar. Record it on YouTube and send it to them! We have done this a few times, it’s weird and fun. Write your own or just change a few lyrics to an existing one.
  • Binoculars – plus a guide to bird and wildlife.

These were my picks from the blogs suggestions. Read the blog yourself.

Posted by Storypark

Try Storypark for free and improve family engagement with children’s learning

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *